Scottish independence: Second TV debate agreed

Alex Salmond, Bernard Ponsonby and Alistair Darling on the inaugural television debate on independence, which was screened on STV. Picture: Peter Devlin

Alex Salmond, Bernard Ponsonby and Alistair Darling on the inaugural television debate on independence, which was screened on STV. Picture: Peter Devlin

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ALEX Salmond and Alistair Darling are to face each other again in a second live TV debate on the independence referendum, it has been confirmed.

It will be screened on BBC One Scotland and across the rest of the UK on BBC Two from 8.30pm on Monday August 25.

The 90 minute debate will be staged in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in front of an audience of 200 people selected by polling and research consultancy, ComRes, the BBC said.

Get the latest referendum news, opinion and analysis from across Scotland and beyond on our new Scottish Independence website

The broadcaster added that questions will feature prominently in the programme, which will be shared as a simulcast with other broadcasters and media outlets including newspapers.

John Boothman, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, said: “Interest among the voting public in this historic debate has consistently been high and our wide range of programming over many months has underlined our commitment to ensure audiences are as well informed as they can be about all the key issues.

“Debates on both radio and television, from across the country, have been a central part of our programming and they have given audiences the opportunity to interrogate representatives from both sides of the argument.

“We expect the audience at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and those watching and listening at home will be in for an absorbing evening’s debate on the referendum’s burning questions.

“Clearly the referendum is of huge historic significance and, as part of our public service remit, we are delighted we can offer live streams of the debate to non-BBC media outlets in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.”

The first televised debate between the First Minister and the leader of the Better Together campaign was screened on STV last week. A Guardian/ICM poll conducted immediately afterwards indicated former chancellor Mr Darling had won the debate by 56% to 44%.

Other broadcasters have expressed an interest in screening debates between the two men before the referendum on September 18.

Both Sky and Channel 4 debates have been in discussions with both sides of the debate but Better Together has set a deadline of August 26 as it wants to ensure the TV debates are over before postal ballots are sent.

Internet forum Mumsnet has also lined up the opposing leaders for an online debate in the coming weeks.

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